Great Lakes Lifeways Institute

Embracing Regional Traditions, Land, Arts and Culture


   You have reached the homepage of the Great Lakes Lifeways Institute. (GLLI)  We are a West Michigan based nonprofit educational organization dedicated to embracing two of our region’s greatest assets; our cultural heritage including stories, experiences, arts and traditions of the many diverse groups of people who have made this region their home and equally the heritage and uniqueness of the land itself. Collectively, these make up the soul of our region, giving us a sense of history, roots, meaning and a value for the beauty and uniqueness of this place where we live. By actively preserving and sharing this rich heritage, we are making an important investment for future generations.  Learn more.... !

Great Lakes Lifeways Institute

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Current Initiatives

   Place Based Education

    Wild Rice Restoration   

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Media & Publications

    Black Ash Basketry Film


Past Projects

     Voyageur Canoe

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GLLI in the Media



“It is the depth of our roots, our kinship to the land and the richness of our traditions that give meaning to our surroundings and foundations to our identities.”

After three years of research, field processes, and data collection, GLLI is developing interpretive resources to help interpretive facilities across the maple sugar region tell the real story of the origins of maple sugar. From tapping trees with a hatchet and a split slat of wood to boiling sap in clay pots to accurate descriptions of early sugar production methods and helping to answer archaeological questions about pre-historic sugaring, this research and interpretive guide package promises to be a valuable contribution that adds new knowledge to the mix while giving educators the tools they need to tell the story in an accurate, engaging way.


Check out this great article by Matthew Gryczan!

SciTech Article

GLLI Explores the History and Early Technologies of Maple Sugar

Great Lakes Traditional Arts Gathering

August 10-14, 2016; Drummond Island MI...

Four days of hands-on learning experiences with expert naturalists, master artists, & tradition bearers in one of the most scenic natural locations.


For More Info!

  1. Outings - Explore and Adventure with our expert naturalists

  2. Classes - Work alongside tradition-bearers, naturalists & artisans

  3. Drummond Island - a beautiful secluded cove with a sandy beach

  4. Evening Performances and activities - music, stories, presentations, and more...